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What does a Military Training Instructor do?

By Lori Kilchermann
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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The job of a military training instructor is to create a soldier out of a civilian. The military training instructor has many different duties, depending on the training course assigned. The bottom line is that taking untrained civilian recruits and creating trained, intelligent and lethal instruments of war is considered a difficult job.

The first military training instructor most recruits are introduced to is a basic drill instructor. This is the individual the recruit takes direction from. This is also the instructor that instills the basic military philosophy into the raw recruit. The drill instructor is the first real military person that most recruits are attached to.

The drill sergeant is not the only military training instructor that the recruit will learn from. Each task in the military is taught by a military training instructor specializing in that particular task. From map reading to marksmanship, the training is handled by an array of expert military training instructors.

A basic misconception is that all training instructors are military. In fact, many of the top instructors are Department of Defense civilian personnel. These instructors are typically retired military or in the case of modern computer warfare, college professors or professionals who are the top in their respective fields. During training, these civilians are given the same level of respect and courtesy as military instructors.

The key qualification for a military training instructor is that he or she be at the top of his or her particular field. The basic drill instructor school washes out many more applicants than it graduates. In some countries, only retired military personnel are given the right to train new soldiers.

The military training instructor enjoys a status among his or her peers that is high in the military community. It is understood that the training instructor is responsible for the education and the continuance of the military itself. Instructors are given the respect and courtesy of a returning war hero and in many countries, military instructors have movie star status among the civilian population as well.

Despite trying to ingrain the same basic principles in each recruit, the military does not want robots. A military desires well-trained soldiers who can follow direction and lead troops if the situation requires it. They want soldiers trained to decipher intelligence and information and make judgments based on that information. A military training instructor provides the working base of knowledge to allow every soldier to fulfill his or her role in the field.

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Discussion Comments
By lluviaporos — On Feb 12, 2014

@Ana1234 - I know it probably sounds naive, but I've never really thought about the combat training when it comes to the military. I mean, I knew they had to learn how to wield a gun, of course, but for some reason I thought the majority of the time it was basically a big military boot camp, where the soldiers mostly worked on their fitness.

But I was talking to a friend of mine recently who does training for the army and he told me that, if anything, he ends up losing fitness when he's out with the army, because they don't push as hard as they could.

By Ana1234 — On Feb 11, 2014

@Fa5t3r - That might be true to some extent but I don't think the aim is to train all of the independence out of the soldiers. You still don't want someone who is going to shoot first and ask questions later. You want someone who is going to do whatever they have to do, but in a responsible, thoughtful way.

By Fa5t3r — On Feb 10, 2014

I've heard that the training that they do in the military has become more and more difficult over the years, because they are basically trying to condition the soldiers to take certain actions without thinking too much about it. There was research done at the end of the Second World War where they realized that many of the people doing the fighting were deliberately shooting to miss their targets, because they just didn't want to kill anyone, even an enemy. They couldn't stop seeing the soldiers as human beings.

In order to get them past that kind of hesitation, military education now aims to just get them to fire automatically when they see a target, If they do enough drills, eventually they stop seeing the enemy as human and just see them as another bulls-eye.

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